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DropShipping vs Affiliate Marketing: Which One Is Better?

6 min read

Once you’ve set up a successful blogging platform, a logical step to start earning money is to start selling products to your audience.

Both drop shipping and affiliate allow you to sell through a third party, meaning that you can make money from products without spending a lot of money or doing all the work it would take to set up a traditional shop.

You have the opportunity to make uncapped revenue by selling products without ever having to handle the products yourself, but which method should you use for your blog?

dropshipping vs affiliate marketing

Meet Third-Party Selling

When you don’t have the resources to handle merchandise yourself you may want to consider third-party selling.

This means that while you encourage your audience to buy products, another company will package and send these products to the buyer. You never have to deal with inventory, storage, returns or shipping.

This makes both dropshipping and affiliate selling easy to set up with very few financial risks for bloggers.

What is Affiliate Selling?

Affiliate selling is for those who want to make extra cash by promoting products related to the content of their channel. Foodies might talk about specific ingredients their readers can buy online. Fashion bloggers love to mention their favorite clothing stores.

Why not make take the opportunity to make money when you encourage a reader to buy a product? You can sign up to become an affiliate with one (or several) of your favorite online retailers.

Or you can sign up as an Amazon Associate and instantly be able to recommend thousands of products to your readers.

The Benefits of Becoming an Affiliate

Mutually beneficial:

Online shops want you to market their products and you want a cut of the money they make. Rather than it is a case of you paying someone else (i.e. a supplier) to do your work, you have a retailer who supports you as you help them.

Amazon has a great affiliate program where you not only get paid when someone buys a product you advertised, but also if they buy any qualifying products having entered the site through your affiliate link.

No time needed:

All it takes to start earning money through affiliate selling is to sign up, publicize your link and get people to buy products! You don’t need to liaise with suppliers, design products or create any kind of seller website.

Neither do you need to deal with any customer queries or complaints—they aren’t your customers! You are simply promoting products of your choice to your established audience.

Flexibility:

All it takes is posting a link. You can put this in a blog post, in the description of a YouTube video, or in a social media post.

Of course, each company will have their terms and conditions for how you need to behave, but generally you can sign up to whoever you like, or move to a different company if you don’t feel like it’s working.

The Disadvantages of Affiliate Selling

No control:

When it comes to affiliate selling, you’re relying on someone else to close the sale. You don’t make money unless the product is bought, but don’t have any ability to influence whether they buy it after they have left your site.

Bad connection:

If a customer has a bad experience with the vendor you send them to, it may hurt your reputation.

While with dropshipping it’s down to you to apologize for any issues, with affiliate selling you’re relying on the vendor to do a good job without even the ability to help a customer if something goes wrong.

The same applies to if the company you promote get any bad press—that bad press may get reflected back to you as an affiliate. For example, you may not have wanted to be seen to be affiliated with H&M after their recent controversy.

What is Dropshipping?

When you want to sell a specific product without the hassle of producing it yourself, you can choose to start drop shipping merchandise.

When a customer purchases a product from you, you will then order it from a separate retailer who will then ship it to the customer. While it appears similar to a standard retail model from the outside, you only have to worry about making sales rather than any stock or shipping requirements.

You can even get extra help to start up your dropshipping venture; Shopify can help you start selling risk-free with a free trial, while eCom Elites is a training course that provides advice for every step of the way.

The Benefits of Dropshipping

Build your brand:

You get to choose exactly what you want to sell and can choose a selection of products to make your shop feel like your own. Customers will come to you to buy products without you promoting another seller or third party.

Dropshipping allows the focus of the enterprise to be on you—it not only works as a method of making money but also builds the status and credibility of your brand.

Gain without hassle:

You can run your business from anywhere, stock any products you want, and never have to think about the logistics of it. If you want to scale your business, it’s very easy to do so.

Traditionally more business would mean more work for you, but dropshipping means that you can simply pass the work onto your suppliers.

The Disadvantages of Dropshipping

Customer service:

You are the face of the whole operation. Your customers don’t care who is responsible for what part of the supply chain—all they want to know is that they get what they have paid for.

You will have to take responsibility for any supplier errors, shipping problems.

You’ll need to make sure you have a good quality, a trustworthy supplier to reduce the risk of anything going wrong, but still you will need to be prepared to apologize for issues and do what you can to resolve them.

Small change:

Most of the money your customers spend goes to the third party supplier who then made their own small profit from it.

While you personally don’t have to dish out for overhead charges, you pay for it in the long run by making a smaller amount of money yourself.

Higher prices:

Additionally, as your supplier is charging a set amount for their services, you have very little control over the end cost of the item.

You need to make money from your dropshipping venture for it to be worth it, but this all drives up costs for your customers. This may, unfortunately, mean you sell fewer products than you would like.

Which is The Right Option For You?

If you’re looking to sell a set range of products based on your brand then dropshipping is probably better for you. Otherwise, it’s far easier to become an affiliate with a brand especially if you already mention products on your blog.

You have far more flexibility, and it’s a great way of starting out with selling products.

Have you tried third party selling? If you’re thinking of starting dropshipping or affiliate marketing on your blog, do some research into brands you may want to use to get you started.


About the Author:

Victoria Greene is a writer for Victoriaecommerce and an e-commerce brand consultant. She likes to share tips with those looking to make a success of their business endeavours online. Big fan of blogging and content marketing!


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